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tv   MSNBC Live With Alex Witt  MSNBC  August 27, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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it's time to shake things up. with the capital one venture card, you get double miles on everything you buy, not just airline purchases. seriously, think of all the things you buy. great...is this why you asked me to coffee? well yeah... but also to catch-up. what's in your wallet? welcome back to the top of the hour. right now, we're waiting for the governor of texas to speak about the historic flooding in houston from what's being done to help those stranded to how much worse things could get with several more days of historic rain on the way. also this hour, a lot to talk about concerning the white house and this statement today by the secretary of state. plus, we have some different takes on the presidential pardoning of a controversial sheriff. we'll get that sound bite to you
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from rex tillerson coming up. >> -- prosecuted in the first place. there was an overwhelming bias in the justice department. the obama justice department. >> here you go, everyone, hello, i'm alex witt at msnbc headquarters in new york. it is high noon in houston. we have all this breaking news in texas at this hour. taking a look at the catastrophic flooding in houston. the emergency responders have been answering callings for water rescues around the clock. houston mayor sylvester turner announced late this morning the city has received more than 2,000 calls from people who have needed help since last night. he's now opening the george r. brown convention center for people in need of shelter. meanwhile, tropical storm harvey is not letting up. with rainfall nearing historic levels as the national weather service warns that the situation is expected to worsen. flash flood emergencies are in effect for multiple counties across southeast texas as the
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storm threatens to dump up to another seven inches of rain per hour but the devastation extends well beyond houston. much of rock port was demolished when it was hit with the full force of the storm. once again, we are waiting for the texas governor to hold that news conference on the effect of the disastrous storm and the emergency response efforts now in motion. we're going to bring that to you as soon as it gets under way. nbc reporters and producers are throughout the region, covering the latest impact on what is now tropical storm harvey. we're going to turn base with them throughout this next hour for you. let's first go to nbc's maya rodriga. she's in houston. you talked with a family that was getting out of the way of floodwaters from a neighborhood not too far where you're standing now. there's been a lot of really touching stories and efforts by neighbors to help other ones who have been stranded. >> yes, you saw that just a short time ago, a lex. where we are right now is south friendswood drive in friendswood, texas.
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there's a creek that runs through here. just a few minutes ago, people had brought their private boats here. they were launching them into the creek. what they're doing is they're trying to help out with some of the water rescues going on in this area. as you can probably tell, it is raining. it's been raining here for a very long time. we did see that family who is carrying a lot of their possessions basically in plastic bags. someone had come in with a pickup truck and was basically going to ferry the family from this particular drop-off point to a shelter that's been open in town. again, there are so many people in the houston metropolitan area who have been basically caught unaware by these floodwaters. they've been on their roofs. they've been told not to go into their attics because the last thing you want to do is get trapped up there if the water is rising. a lot of people went to bed last night thinking, okay, it's going to rain, there's a possibility of so many flooding but maybe not right away. turns out that might not have been the case for many of them. as you know, the rain has been falling consistently for a while. we've been driving in from victoria texas.
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all the roads we took here had some form of water on the road. we had to take a couple of alternate routes because we couldn't get over here because some of the roads had closed down because of water. this is a situation where people with their private boat, their canoe, other types of boats that were out here, have been launching into this creek to try to go and sort of help out because emergency responders have been sort of caught unaware or they're just overwhelmed, rather, by just the number of people needing help. again that rain starting to get harder again here in the houston area. these people have been overwhelmed, these people are stepping up and they're trying to do their best to help each other out out here. a lex. >> want to let viewers know what they're seeing here, water and air rescue. we were just looking at one of the five mh-65 dolphin helicopters put into the region by coast guard. they're flying around looking at rooftops to look for people who may be stranded, standing on
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their rooftops. on the advice of local emergency official, they've been told to put anything they can that will make them be noticed, sheet, bright colored towels, anything that might be able to signal to anybody above they need help desperately. it's important to note, i believe you've said it before, people are supposed to not go into their attics. don't go there, right, get out of the house and climb on top. >> absolutely, i lived in new orleans for six years so there are definitely shades of katrina going on here right now. and of course you do not want to end up in your attic. what happened back then, people had to use axes to basically knock out their roofs in order to climb to the top, knock through the ceiling. you don't want to end up in a situation like that. if the water is rise, just do what you can to make your way to the roof. you do want to have something maybe bright, something white, something that the helicopters can see some of the, you know, aircraft that might be going on ahead, that can sort of spot you if you are, in fact, in danger. we have seen, i must say, on our way in here, we did see one, it
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looked like a coast guard help couldn'ter, making its way through here. was unbelievable. because it was so rainy and the crowds were so gray. it's incredible they're out here working in these conditions. we can tell you in fact they are, alex. >> absolute historic storm, that is for sure. thank you so much from that neighborhood just adjacent to downtown houston. let's go right to nbc's stephanie gosk, she's also with us. stephanie, i understand, you're traveling on the road, you're in the car. that's not something we've seen a lot of lately given the waterways that the roads, rather, have become waterways. >> absolutely, it is really difficult trying to get around this city. we went through rice university. we're now trying to head through this neighborhood and as you can see we have to back up because it's flooded and now the people in these homes certainly are alarmed by the water but they're obviously not in the kind of treacherous situation where they need to be rescued by people in helicopters. we're now hearing from the national weather service that in places around houston, the
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rainfall could top 50 inches. even in the extreme scenario, we weren't talking about 50 inches. it is, you know, what has happened. we've been talking about this all day. the storm basically stopped. the rain has not stopped. the bands of rain are just dumping on the city of houston. that's what we're seeing in the streets here. >> you just came from the rice university area. how far is that from downtown huften? because part of what we're seeing, you're on a split screen, so you know, and we're looking at these downtown houston streets that are virtual waterways. you see trucks covered near the top of them. the only way anyone's getting through is via boat. so that's downtown. how far are you? this neighborhood's about what distance from this? >> you know, maybe five miles from downtown, alex. that's a bit of a -- that's a bit of a guess.
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we are, what, kind of southwest of the city, guys. >> northwest. >> northwest of the city, excuse me. we are trying to get south. we're trying to get braise bayou in a place in the past that has flooded consistently. but right now every bayou, practically, in the city is over its banks. with the rain still fall, it's bog to continue to rise. certainly going to rise in places like this. you can tell right now looking down there the water is just simply too deep. it is very easy to drive in that water. and we've seen that over and over again. >> anything like coast guard helicopters? we know there are five that have been commissioned from the coast guard.
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fortunately the water isn't quite high enough for that. but have you seen that during your day at all? >> no, we haven't seen that. we know it's occurring. we know right now if you call 911 you might get through. you might not. the emergency service, the call centers are overwhelmed by the need in the metropolitan area. >> stephanie, weren't you saying that last night in the houston area, it just didn't seem like it would get to this. there was rain. it was unpleasant. but you could have dinner. people were in restaurants. and now it's a virtual ghost town, right? are any businesses open? are people tending just to try to keep the waters at bay? >> i think there were so many people last night that were thinking perhaps houston dodged a bullet. that perhaps it wasn't going to be as bad as forecasted. i think that's not because officials had told them that was the case, but, rather, you see the storm come on shore.
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having seen hurricanes in the past, people probably thought well, you know, it's been downgraded, it's not as strong as it was before. but what meteorologists have been saying, and they have not stopped saying it, is that was never going to be the most dangerous part of this storm. most dangerous part of this storm is what we are experiencing right now, and as bill karins has been saying today all day, the rain's not going to stop, there's no end in sight. even if you -- if you were to stop the rain, if the sun comes out now, you're talking about billions of dollars in damage to this city. and that's just not the case. it's going to continue to rain for hours and hours and hours. alex. >> yes, stephanie, could i ask, i did see a car parked on street i guess to the right of the van. does it look like people have garages that are at least slightly elevated or those cars are going to be hit by water pretty soon? >> this neighborhood, this neighborhood right now obviously not the most severe of neighborhoods in the houston area, but the water just keeps
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rising. that's really the issue. and if you are in one of these home, right now, you might think, well, all right, maybe -- maybe we're up a little bit. main that car off to right there, that white car is going to be okay. the truth is, i wouldn't feel that safe even here with the water rising the way it has over last 24 hours. >> yes, okay. where do you think you're heading next? >> wherever the car can go. >> yeah, that's a good point. >> options are shut down pretty regularly. we've had to turn around and -- so we're going to figure it out. we're trying to get kind of west of the city. >> all right, stephanie, thank you so much. we know you'll take us with you wherever you do land. appreciate that. let's turn now to politics and new reaction from secretary of state tillerson who's a peering to distance himself and the state department from president trump for the way he responded to the racially charged violence we saw in charlotte two weeks ago. >> i don't believe anyone doubts the american people's values or
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the commitment of the american government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values. >> and the president's values? >> the president speaks for himself, chris. >> are you separating yourself from that, sir? >> i've spoken, i've made my own comments as to our values as well in the speech i gave to the state department this past week. >> meanwhile, a new warning from former white house adviser sebastian gorka who's now returning to breitbart news. here's what he told a reporter there during an interview yesterday. >> we are winning and we're going to continue to do so. with steve back at the helm. it's like last scene from "star wars," other you remember what ben kenobi said to darth? if you strike me down, i will be more powerful than you can ever imagine. left thinks they're winning. they have no idea what's coming around the corner and it's going to be fun. >> sounds o s ominous. let's bring in aaron pike. and nbc's alex sikes-wald.
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let's talk about what secretary of state tillerson said earlier in the show. refusing to say whether the president's values and the american people's values are one and the same. how did you interpret that? >> it's clear tillerson has been at odds with the president a couple of times during his tenure and eesz nhe's not the o one. we talked about gary cohen this week getting ready to redisign t not officially resigning. a number of high-ranking officials separating themselves a little bit from the president. because obviously they have big networks of their own and they don't want to be lumped in with his personal views. >> you know, erin, before i get to alex, i want to ask you, since you were able to spend time with the secretary of state and you got an exclusive right on the plane, accompanying him overseas on a trip. talk about your interpretations of the way he works with donald trump. did he talk about that at all with you in the course of that flight? >> you know, alex, we had two
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interviews that were about a half hour long. and that's really the bulk of the time that i spent with him. why secretary tillerson took that job, as i have come to understand what he told me more and more is really because he thought, look, the president wanted me to do this job. he understands i have a complex understanding of the world. that's why he's doing that job. negotiating with other foreign leaders around the world. i think he tries to get through to donald trump as often as he can. he does have is his cell phone number. he uses it whenever he can. i don't think it means those two see eye to eye on a number of things. i withi think is true of a numbf high ranking officials in the trump administration. >> certainly not seeing eye to eye with regard to what he was saying to chris wallace there.
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alex, my question to you, any way you can interpret what rex tillerson is saying as an indication he may be on his way out? >> well, there's been rumors for months about rex tillerson just as there has been for half of the cabinet and many of the senior staff in the white house. and this is the kind of way that trump seems to like to keep his government with things uneasy, people on one foot, unsteady. and divided. he tolerates open division inside his administration which is of course very unusual. it's like he has two coattails. one of this kind of steve bannon wing and the other kind of mainstream gop wing which i think tillerson would be a member and neither trust each other and he doesn't want to moderate or come down either way in that dispute so things get left open, in the air. for tillerson, i think that's tough. he's on top of a very large bureaucracy that doesn't really trust him, that certainly doesn't really trust the president, and he's stuck between trying to manage all that. this seems like a sign he's testing least limits of how much he can separate himself from the
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president. >> do stay with me if you can. after the break, i want to ask you about that darth vader/obi-wan ken nabih statement from groka. we're waiting for a briefing from the texas governor on this storm. houston is not the only part of texas struggling mightily after hurricane harvey. another part of southeast texas is reeling from the storm and show you how people are coping with the initial shock of what's happened. when you've been making delicious natural cheese for over 100 years like kraft has, you learn a lot about what people want. honey, do we have like a super creamy cheese
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we are winning and we're going to continue to do so. with steve back at the helm. it's like the last scene from "star wars," okay. do you remember what he said to darth? left thinks they're winning. they have no idea what's come around the corner and it's going to be fun.
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>> the more i hear that sound bite, the more i start smiling. it's just bizarre. let's go back to our panel. erin mcpike. nbc's alex sikes-wald. how do you interpret it? how significant is his departure? did he jump or was he pushed? >> i think he was probably pushed. as far as how significant that particular comment is, i think it's directed when he says the left, some of the more leftist types within the trump white house. that's gary cohen for example. that is ivanka trump. and jared kushner. we know that steve bannon doesn't like hr mcmaster, the national security adviser, who is not necessarily of the left but is pushing some national security ideas that are not quite in line with what steve bannon and sebastian gorka want. i think when he says we're winning and we're going to come back and get them, he is talking about how steve bannon and
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sebastian gorka at the helm of breitbart is going to go after those individuals within the trump administration and perhaps smear them, write about them that sort of thing. i don't think he's talking about going after the large american left throughout this country. >> okay. a lex, same question to you. what do you make of this darth vader/obi-wan kenobi sound bite? did he push or did he jump? >> that was not actually the last scene from "star wars." there's still about 45 minutes left in the movie after obi-wan gets struck down. as important as personnel decisionsters are bhushin the w house and they absolutely are and deserve the attention, from everything we've heard, gorka was not an influj figure inside the administration. i don't think he had the president's ear on major issue despite his title. he went on tv and was more of a spokesperson. and it's also tough with trump. i mean, you look throughout his
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career and he has people who are close to him for a while and then get discarded but often those people come back or they talk to him through back channels. i'm thinking of corey lewandowski, for instance, the former campaign manager. this is a guy who has relied on his own counsel for many year, decades, isn't a product of his people around him. i think as much as personnel moves are important, it's really trump who's driving everything there and who is calling all the shots. >> and both of you very quickly, pardoning of joe arpaio, that certainly keeps the base happy. do you think the president's going to face congressional pushback as he tries to get anything implemented in congress, erin, you first. >> any pushback from congress on his agenda? >> on his agenda. >> yes, look, earlier this week, the white house put out a statement saying that the president and mitch mcconnell are still going to keep their scheduled meetings and they are broadly on the same page.
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that was essentially a confirmation that in no way are president trump and mitch mcconnell on the same page because it is remarkable that the white house would think they have to put that statement out after there have been a number of stories in the last weeks saying mcconnell and trump basically hate each other and aren't talk and aren't getting along. i think you're going to see that congress is -- republicans on both the house and senate side are going to try very hard to get something done on tax reform. but from all of our reporting, we're hearing that basically a number of these members of congress want the white house but president trump specifically to stay out of their efforts. while they kind of try to hammer something out. >> alex, your thoughts on the same question? >> e think congressional republicans need trump more than he needs them. they need a win. they're hoping for one on tax reform. they're going to need him on that. i think he's going to feel emboldened by the tepid response from even critics like jeff flake to the joe arpaio pardon,
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and said he would have preferred a different method. what's concerning to people about this pardon is that the presidents have basically unlimited ability to do this. there's almost no resource that congress or the courts or anyone else can take. the on thing that's constrained presidents in the past is political pressure and decorum but trump doesn't seem concerned by any of that. they're worried not only about this particular pardon, but that this can be the first kind of weaponization of the pardon power that could lead in untold directions. >> haven't heard it described like that, weaponization, but i understand what you're saying. thank you both so much. an update from houston. what happens when first responders need help in the midst of a flooding disaster. plus latest in the effort to get people to dry ground. i no longer live with
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in dickenson, texas. officials are calling for the public to help and bring their boats to help rescue. >> i've seen the water come up a lot. and i've seen a lot of people that doesn't want to leave their home. but we manage to get them out and got them to a dry area and they're fine. last time we flooded, i bought the boat and just in case people needed my help, you know, so i keep it around and when it flood, i pull it out and if anybody needs anything, i help them. >> another update from houston. ben top hospital is being evacuated due to flooding in the basement and a power loss. critical patients are being moved first. just ahead, we'll hear from congressman al green whose district includes most of southwestern houston about what the federal government can do to help.
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welcome back, everyone. i'm a lex witt here at msnbc headquarters in new york. at 31 minutes past the hour. some new information in the
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aftermath of hurricane harvey. the national weather service saying just a short time ago the rainfall from the storm could now reach 50 inches in some places which would be the highest ever recorded in the state of texas. let's go now to nbc's maya rodriguez in houston for us. i want to add that moments ago, houston emergency officials made an appeal to boat owners. what can you tell us about that? >> well, i can tell you that right here where we're standing, tons of private boat owners have been coming for the last hour or so. dropping off their boat, going into these neighborhoods that are flooded, trying to rescue people. joining us are one of those boat owner, two of the boat owner, derek and jenny rowe. thanks for joining us under these conditions. you brought your 18-foot boat out. it's this one here. >> i had some buddies call me and they were stuck on the rooftop and wanted us to help them. we're here to see what we can do. >> we're talking about your mother, your mother is in that neighborhood too.
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>> my mom lives in the apartments back there by quaker's landing and it's supposed to be getting real high so we're going to see if we can get out there. >> 10 foot under water, people are on roofs. >> 10 feet under water? >> 10 feet, yes. >> you live heard your entire life. have you ever seen anything like this? >> no, i've been through alicia and everything and i've never seen it this bad. >> you, ma'am, you were talking about the fact you were shocked. you thought you guys were going to be flooded last night. you went to bed last night? >> it was up to our door. we actually got scared. thank goodness. thank the lord that water started receding. but everything is okay. and clear as of now. where we live. and that's in bracken ridge, over there. now we're trying to help our friends and loved ones. >> that's really what's motivated you to come out here, the fact there is this need. >> yeah, yeah. i actually tried to help out, you know, whenever i'm needed so
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i'm just ready to do what i -- whatever. >> what about the response you've seen from first responders? can you speak to that? >> it's amazing what they're doing. this town, this community. i mean, everyone's come together. so i don't know. it's just this is -- i've never seen it like this before. so i hope everything and everybody is okay. and pray for best. >> all right, jenny and derek rowe, thank you so much for what you're doing out here. that's sort of the message we keep hearing, this is communities that are trying to come together, help people who are in need, what we are hearing is there have been about 150 people that have been picked out of their flooded homes and dropped off in this location right now. of course there's still another 200 we're told by the fire department who are still waiting. of course there is a need for these private citizens to come in and kind of help them out, alex. >> absolutely good samaritans. we're grateful for their presence. let's check in now with msnbc
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meteorologist bill karins. i'm having trouble believing what we're seeing, extraordinary. >> the rescue, i think once it gets dark, it gets difficult to navigate. about eight hours to rescue as many people as possible. during the overnight, it's tough. unless you're on the rooftop with a flashlight. as far as the boats go. this one sentence by the national weather service that came out sums it up, saying this event is unprecedented and all impacts are well known. follow orders from officials to ensure your safety. we know from past events how high the water levels are and what's going to happen at those certain water levels. this water is up so high we don't know exactly where the water is going to flow to. people in their lifetimes that have lived there for 80 years have never seen water in places that they're seeing it now. let's get into the forecast part. we have numerous tornado warnings. we had one confirmed tornado about a half hour ago south of the town. figure, our helicopter crews are rescuing people in these weather conditions and how incredible is that, they're up there flying
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through these possible thunderstorms are isolated tornadoes to rescue all these lives. still forecasting these bands of rain. it gets a little more scattered but it's still in and around the same vicinities. by 1:00 a.m. tonight, once again, heavy rain right over houston area. the unbelievable part is now we've already had 1 to 2 feet, isolated totals are now approaching 28, 30 inches of rain. our computers are hinting at the possibility we could add significantly more rain to this in the next 48 hours as we trade up, that goes to about 8 1/2 inches more, 7, 17, 12. you get the picture here. we could really add to the devastation in this region. >> i want to tell our viewers that the picture we're seeing here is a live picture, everyone, and, you know, not for nothing, you look at pets as well and we're so grateful that woman was able to get her pet out of the water safely. when you think about what happened to pets back in katrina. there were a quarter million,
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250,000 dogs and cats were either killed because of the storm there or they were displaced -- >> left behind. >> it is extraordinary. at least we saw that -- >> right now we're just trying to save lives and then you get into those questions, i left my pet behind, where am i going to stay tonight, where are we going to shelter all of these people? i mean, katrina, we had mobile homes set up by fema that people lived in for months upon months after that event. we have to wait and see how this all plays out. >> okay, bill, thank you very much for that. thanks for keeping an eye on the numbers. they're changing pretty fast too. let's get a bit more on what's happening on the ground. texas congressman al green joins us by phone from houston. before we even get to some questions, our condolences. i mean, this is just epic record rainfall. we know officials say that they have done hundreds of water rescues from clearly this catastrophic flooding. how do you assess the conditions in houston right now, sir? >> thank you for your
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expressions of kindness. conditions are dire. this is an historic event. the city is immobile. we've had over 100 tornado warnings. bus services have been suspended. we have power outages. we have shelters being put up as quickly as possible. the george r. brown convention center has become a shelter. it is dire. we appreciate all the help we're getting. ultimately we have a lot to do right here. ourselves. neighbors are helping neighbors. >> i know the governor earlier said he's adding harris county now to the federal disaster declarati declaration. was houston hit harder than originally expected by your estimation? >> well, we did know exactly what to expect, and we indicated that we were deal with what we could expect. yes, this is unanticipated.
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its record rain when you are measuring rain by the feet as opposed to by the inches. you have days of duration as opposed to hours of duration. it is historic. it's something you have to be a part of to totally understand. and then you can understand, too, while we're stretched beyond our means and we're making best of what we have available. >> we've heard city officials saying emergency services are already at capacity, sir, so what kind of resources are able to be offered to your constituents? >> well, i'm grateful that we've been declared a disaster area. that means we'll get additional federal dollars in and also get additional personnel from the federal government. fema has hthousands of people wo can be brought into an area like this. the national flood insurance will be of help to people. fema will have business through the center that will open up. they have incident managers. people who are literally here to
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manage concerns that we have and they're called to the attention of various representatives and we get them to the incident manager and they take care of them. we will have air buses that can help us airlift people to safety. there will be emergency medical services that will be made available. the federal government is big and its strong. it can make a difference and is headed our way and i'm grateful. >> i'm sure it can't come soon enough to help you all out there. texas congressman al green, our thoughts and prayers are with all of you and the good people of texas. we'll keep a watch and best of luck, sir. >> thank you so much. coming i next, politics and the reaction to secretary of state rex tillerson comments when directly asked whether the president reflects american values. then at the top of the hour, "meet the press prehe press" w administrator.
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let's go to politics now. the response to the violence in charlottesville is getting reaction from secretary of state tillerson. here was his response when asked
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about a united nations statement con tem deming the president's remarks. >> he expressed american values. we represent the american people. who represent american values. our commitment to freedom. our commitment to equal treatment of people the world over. that message has never changed. i don't think anyone doubts the american people's values or the commitment of the american government or the government's agencies to advancing those values and defending those values. >> and the president's values? >> the president speaks for himself, chris. >> joining me now is douglas cramer, former staff secretary and deputy assistant to president obama. can you envoicingision a scenar where someone says the president speaks for himself about american values, excluding this administration? >> well, thank you, alex, happy to be here. you know, it is something when you're organizing the white house and going through the managerial challenges of running a white house. when i was there as staff secretary, our role was to make sure that issues that went to the president for his decision
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had the full information from all members of the information. so you would have decisions coming out of the white house that had support and could be implemented. the whole point of running an organization that way, there's been more discussion of that this week, was make sure you avoid articles or discussions about dissension of viewpoints from within the administration. >> you work for president obama. do you think that you would ever hear such a response from a cabinet member? are we making too much of it? >> it's kind of ironic i'm here talking about this. there's been some discussion about what general kelly is trying to do about organization and operations within the west wing. you know, it's impossible what to say what will happen in any particular circumstance. i found through my experience there that by having a process in which people were a bell to contribute and they felt was proceeding in a fair and transparent way, you ended up with a lot of people who even though they might have walked
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into a situation with different views would be pretty comfortable with the output. >> gary cohen, the white house economic adviser, speak out certainly against the president's charlottesville comments but he chose not to resign despite reports he had every indication he was doing so and already crafted the letter announcing his resignation. what do you see as being the breaking point for people who work in this white house? how far can they stray from their own moral compass? >> that's for each individual. one thing i can share is even though the white house is a surprisingly small sort of physical footprint and doesn't have as many people as you think, it sits on top of a massive federal organization, probably the largest and most complexion in the history of the world. so the number of different viewpoints and the number of different roles that come into that can often be something that's very difficult to organize and focus. to put all of that responsible
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on any one person other than the president can be a challenge. >> how about this president? does president trump put those who work with him in position of having to very carefully choose their words publicly? >> i don't have particular information from what's happening inside this administration. i can say, though, that i was, you know, continually surprised that the impact that making people aware of a process, making people aware of their role in having input and how those decisions would be made, had a pretty strong cure rative effect on how people would move on from day to day. you want it to allow the president to make a decision and have that decision followed up on the next day without it being relitigated, without there being questions exactly what was meant. that was really our role in administering process within the west wing, is to make sure that people had a full understanding of what the president was being asked to do. >> let me ask you about chief of staff john kelly from ousting of scarmucci to bannon to gorka.
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will his role be able to extend to the president? how necessary is that? >> the role of the white house chief of staff is absolutely essential. setting the agenda by and large for the president. making sure that all the various views which are often strongly held by very important people, make it into the mix in a way that can allow the president to make good decisions and have those followed up on. that's an incredibly essential role. general kelly trying to make these efforts to set the course for the west wing, the way he thinks appropriate, is absolutely essential to what they're going to try to do. >> all right, douglas cramer, depu deputy assistant to president obama, thank you. the president tweeting today about houston. new reaction next. nutritional needs... all in one. purina one. healthy energy, all in one. strong muscles, all in one. highly digestible, and a taste he loves, all in one.
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grade coordination. many are saying this is the
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worst storm hurricane they have ever seen. the good news is that we have great talent on the ground. that's one piece of the president's latest tweet storm. ten tweets in a few hours and most of them about hurricane harvey. let's bring in the campaign manager for martin o'malley. can i ask you, what's the point of all these tweets? what does the president think they will accomplish? >> i'm not able to get into his head. but look, when you have a natural disaster like, there it doesn't matter what letter is behind the president's name, democrat or republican. you root for the people in danger and yet it is so troubling that he is live tweeting this like a passive observer. he is live tweeting it like it is the mcgregor/mayweather fight. this is a moment where you want to shake him. step up and show some maturity and show some leadership. if you cannot show leadership in
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a moment like this, when will you? >> has there been leadership shown? how would you grade the president's response so far? >> i think it's been a strong response and i disagree respectfully with liz. you want a president who is v t vigilant. he has his phone calls and conferences. the reason he hasn't gone down there in person is because he doesn't want to disrupt or make this about him. i respect that. there are things i disagree with him on very, very vigorously but i think he is showing great leadership. i think he is showing when you look at, thank god the loss of life is far less than other scenarios, katrina, for example, this is a strong response and i want to see more of this president trump. >> on friday night we saw a number of big developments. the pardon of joe arpaio, the ban on the transgender soldiers.
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citizen risk saying the president was hoping to bury this under a friday night news dump under the hurricane. do you believe that? >> i do. it is not a coincidence. the friday night news dump, as you said. and he is flooding the zone with, he knows that it is a saturated media environment. if he can take out all the trash, people's attentions will be divided. what it does do is contribute further to this image that the white house is in chaos. that there's a complete vacuum of leadership. and at a moment when we face so many global threats, there is a natural disaster engulfing the fourth largest city in our country, we don't need more chaos. what we need is stability and constancy and that is last thing we're getting out of the white house. >> you know, there is been quite the reaction to the pardon of joe arpaio why. do you think he did it specifically and why now?
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>> in terms of the timing, he was waiting for the trial. i think there's that aspect. he had just come off that rally where he hinted that it would be happening. i think these steps were all in place. i think it is possible to disagree the pardon. i disagreed with chelsea manning's pardon. very rigorously. i disagreed with removing gitmo detainees so they could go back to the battlefield. i think you can disagree with your president but respect the office of the president. i think so many are forgetting that basic civility. that basic constitutional right of the president he to exert his judgment. >> sorry, but where rethe constitutional breaks of the people that joe arpaio was illegally terrorizing? using his badge to terrorize in
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the phoenix area? where were their constitutional rights? i think that's what is troubling about this. the message that this ends. the guy who ran, he was going to be a law and order president. is essentially endorsing lawlessness and endorsing a law and order practices that are completely abusive and undermine people's civil rights. >> you can disagree with the pardon itself. you can understand there's a bigger message sent by tens of millions of viewers saying we can talk about immigration without throwing the word racist around. you can disagree and say immigrants are driving down the wages of low skilled americans, you can understand what's happening in terms of civic fabric of our culture by throwing these terms around so carelessly. we've not been having these discussions and thankfully president trump is starting those conversations. >> i'll to have call that a wrap for this hour.
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thank you both so much. and that is going to do it for me the hour, everyone. thanks for watching throughout our coverage all weekend long. coming up next, "meet the press" and stay with nbc, we'll bring you the latest from zpetexas, n hurricane harvey.
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6 key inflammatory substances that cause our symptoms. flonase helps block 6. most allergy pills only block one and 6 is greater than 1. with more complete relief you can enjoy every beautiful moment to the fullest. flonase. 6 is greater than 1 changes everything. this sunday, three storms. the first hurricane harvey. >> it sounded like a the hurricane force winds are gone but the big threat now is rain and catastrophic flooding. a flash flood emergency is in effect for houston. storm number. two president trump's pardon of sheriff joe arpaio. >> do the people in this room like sheriff joe? >> the bipartisan criticism, what we now know about what the president wanted to do and what it could mean for the russia investigation. storm number

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